Baran-Unland: 10 reasons why you should eat dinner with turtles on May 23

The Forest Preserve District of Will County will also hold a live turtle presentation on May 21.

The Isle a la Cache Museum in Romeoville is celebrating turtles in May in honor of World Turtle Day on May 23. Sign up for a Forest Preserve District of Will County program to learn about the turtles of Will County or "have dinner" with the Blanding’s turtles at Isle a la Cache.

in 2020, when virtual events were the only events, two family members and I participated in the Forest Preserve District of Will County’s “Breakfast with the Turtles” program.

This was a 30-minute Zoom event that we watched together from three screens in three different homes, two different U.S. states. We sipped our coffee (or tea), ate our breakfasts and spent a lovely half hour watching the languid movements of turtles in water.

Three years later, getting excited over a virtual event seems almost quaint and antiquated. But we got excited all over again when we saw the Forest Preserve District of Will County was hosting a “Dinner with the Turtles” at 4 p.m. May 23.

So here are 10 reasons why we think you should attend, too.

1. It’s free.

2. You won’t strain your gas budget by driving anywhere.

3. When is the last time you enjoyed your favorite meal while turtles enjoyed theirs? Never? Well, now you can.

4. The naturalist doesn’t talk the full 30 minutes. Part of the time, you’re just gazing at the turtles.

5. It was fun watching the naturalist trying to coax the turtles out of hiding – and to see their speed when they realized their food had arrived.

6. You get a very close view of the turtles without having to move aside for the next person to see.

7. The naturalist works hard at keeping the turtles on-screen, so you’re not starting at an empty tank.

8. You learn a lot about turtles in a short period of time.

9. You can invite out-of-state family and friends to watch with you. Start a turtle group chat for an interactive event.

10. Research says watching an aquarium may positively impact psychological and physiological well-being in humans.

To register for this event, visit the events page on the Forest Preserve District of Will County’s website at visit

If you prefer a live presentation, the Forest Preserve District of Will County will also host “Turtles of Will County” from 12:30 to 1:15 p.m. May 21 at the Isle a la Cache Museum in Romeoville. A naturalist will discuss the different turtle species that hang out in Will County. You can also watch the museum’s resident turtles’ feeding time. All ages are invited.

• Denise M. Baran-Unland is the features editor for the Herald-News. Contact her at